The Goose Pond, East Hampton

Mary Nimmo Moran1881/1881

National Museum of Women in the Arts

National Museum of Women in the Arts

During her lifetime, Mary Nimmo Moran’s etchings earned critical praise for their directness and boldness.

The artist studied drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Moran, whom she later married. He introduced her to etching, which became her medium of choice. She worked directly from nature, etching scenes of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the East End of Long Island, where they made their home beginning in 1884.

The couple’s home in East Hampton overlooked Goose Pond where Moran found inspiration in the flat, grassy terrain and its abundant waterways. In this image, Moran used the delicate line of the etching needle to describe a pond that cuts the composition in half. In the distance stands Gardiner’s Mill, a landmark typical of 18th-century Dutch etchings. Moran included it in a number of her compositions. Clouds billow in the background, creating an abstract pattern that silhouettes a grove of trees.

About this print, the 1885 edition of “American Etchings” wrote: “Among her plates... A Goose Pond, Long Island is to be mentioned for the movement in the clouds, a difficult effect to get in etching—in fact, nine-tenths of the etched plates existing have very simple skies, in which a few scratches are made to indicate clouds, and a tint left on the plate which often tends to make the sky look heavy.”

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  • Title: The Goose Pond, East Hampton
  • Creator: Mary Nimmo Moran
  • Date: 1881/1881
  • selected exhibition history: “Prints of Nature: Poetic Etchings of Mary Nimmo Moran,” Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1984
  • artist profile: After immigrating to the U.S. from her native Scotland, Mary Nimmo Moran produced a large number of prints that were celebrated for their boldness and originality. Moran came into her own as an artist in 1879, when her artist husband, Thomas Moran, introduced her to the technique of etching. Working in this medium she achieved immediate success: she was elected to membership in the Society of Painters and Etchers of New York; she became the only woman among the 65 original fellows of London’s Royal Society of Painters and Etchers; her prints won several awards and were collected by such prominent individuals as the English critic John Ruskin. Rather than being overshadowed by her spouse, on many occasions when both husband and wife exhibited etchings in the same show, it was Mary’s work that was singled out for praise. In 1884, the Morans built a new home on Long Island, the surrounding area of which became the subject of many of her most successful etchings. She died in 1899 of typhoid fever, after nursing their daughter Ruth through a bout of the same disease.
  • Style: Realism
  • Physical Dimensions: w8.875 x h6.875 in (Without frame)
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: Purchased with funds donated by the Ott family in honor of Louise S. Ott; Photography by Lee Stalsworth
  • External Link: National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • Medium: Etching on paper